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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
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Antelope mask (Nyanga)

Image Coming Soon

Antelope mask (Nyanga)


"The mask is never exactly that which it resembles." (Guy le Moal, 1980)

Is this an antelope or is it not? Look again at the horns to see an indication why this represents a spirit. Curving forward, such horns would not be seen on a natural antelope. Instead, masks are considered visitations by Dwo, the son of Wuro who created the universe. To celebrate the power of his actions, performers enact explosive spinning movements when the masks appear.

Wood, pigment, metal
25 x 10 3/4 x 14 7/8 in. (63.5 x 27.3 x 37.8 cm)
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryCleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art, African Tribal Images: the Katherine White Reswick Collection, July 10-September 1, 1968; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The University of Pennsylvania, October 10-December 1, 1968

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, African Sculpture, 1970, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art; Brooklyn, New York, The Brooklyn Museum

Los Angeles, California, Frederick S Wight Gallery, University of California, African Art In Motion, January 20-March 17, 1974; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., April 21-July 30, 1974
Published ReferencesThe Cleveland Art Museum, Cleveland, Ohio, African Tribal Art: The Katherine Reswick Collection, 1968, p.? (catalog of the collection.)

University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, African Art in Motion: Icon and Act, Robert Farris Thompson, 1974, p. 135, plate 174. (catalog of the collection.)

Roy, Crhistopher, Art of the Upper Volta Rivers, Alain & Franciose Chaffin, 1988, no. 290, p. 335.

Robbins, Warren, African Art in American Collections, Smithsonian Institution Press, October, 1989.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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